TEMPE, Arizona (KPHO/KTVK) — It’s been just days since recreational marijuana began being sold at Arizona dispensaries, making Arizona one of only 15 states to legalize marijuana.
While this is a huge boom for the cannabis cultivation companies in Arizona like Columbia Care, they now have to change the way they operate to try to meet a whole new demand that happened overnight.
SWC Tempe, a dispensary run by Columbia Care, has a miniature cultivation room onsite with about 54 plants.
Employees said in about a week, they’ll get ready to cut all of them, send them to their other facility in Chino Valley, and then get them ready for packaging to sell at the dispensaries. They said sales sky-high right now, and they’re expecting to do about five times more production this year.
“The patients and the customers have been coming nonstop,” said SWC sales floor lead Coy Mattox.
Mattox said sales tripled just over the weekend, but the behind the scenes production has been extremely involved.
“Dealing with multiple vendors with flower, edibles, things in that nature. We go through a rigorous amount of testing,” said Mattox.
Their parent company, Columbia Care, has dispensaries in Tempe and Prescott and is one of Arizona’s largest cannabis cultivation companies.
“Anytime this sort of disruption happens to demand, everybody’s got to figure out how to pivot to take care of this increase,” said Columbia Care Regional Vice President Chris Ras.
Ras said they’ve already hired over a dozen new employees both on the sales side and cultivation side, and anticipate hiring more with the expectation to produce five times more product to keep up with demand, especially since it’s not an overnight growing process.
“We take our process form seed to mobs to clones to veg plants to bloom plants to post-harvest, all the way through a really state-of-the-art dry care process,” he said.
Ras said there likely will be products out of stock from time to time while they adjust to the new demand they’ve never seen. But the team said they’re prepared to keep old and new customers happy.
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